Keywords: linear no threshold hypothesis, LNT, host defence mechanisms, low dose effects, carcinogenesis, apoptosis, post-normal science, low radiation, body defence mechanisms, public understanding
Re-examination of the Linear No Threshold (LNT) hypothesis, and a trial for the public to comprehend the reality of the low-dose effects of radiation
People have imprinted knowledge of the LNT hypothesis. Use of the terms LNT hypothesis, ALARA, or stochastic effect, etc. clouds the understanding of people about the real effects of very low doses of radiation. In this paper, the scientific basis of the LNT hypothesis is re-examined. A denial of the presence of a threshold means that individuals have no protection from even very small doses or dose rates of radiation in the body. As the human population is heterogeneous, a linear dose-response curve is obtained, as even whole majorities have a threshold. Current results from radiation epidemiological studies and experimental studies from cells and animals were reported by experts from USA, Canada and Japan at the Radition Effects Association (REA) symposium in March 2005 in Tokyo. The findings did not support the LNT hypothesis, but the importance of biological reactions and factors involving radiation-carcinogenesis. Even a few antinuclear audiences started to think about the presence of a body-defence mechanism against radiation. Necessary information on radiation-carcinogenesis is summarised in several figures for better comprehensions by the public.